I remember seeing these amazing book sculptures by Lisa Occhipinti a while back – they were everywhere in the blogosphere, and I loved them. So I was delighted she emailed me recently to let me know about a new book she authored called, “The Repurposed Library.” In it are 33 projects to transform books into works of art. She is generously offering a project as a free PDF download from her book (located at the end of this post) and she even agreed to answer a few of my questions. I hope you enjoy!

1. What is your background and how did you get started doing book sculpture? I have a degree in fine art and taught college art for many years, while always maintaining studio practices. I am painter first and foremost and have always loved books since I was a child.  My book work began with studying traditional handmade binding techniques at the School of the Musuem of Fine Arts, Boston. I started to merge the processes in my painting with the structure of books by making artists books. This in turn led me to where I am now: transforming books. It is essential to me to maintain the integrity of their forms while venerating their attributes. Where others may see a stain on a cover, I see a story.

2. What is one challenge you’ve overcome as an artist? I have learned not to take criticism too seriously. It is a large task, putting your work, which is highly personal, out into the world and accessible to opinion.  But if you’re going to commit to art professionally you have to detach and continue to believe in what you do.

3. What does art mean to you? Art is a means of communication. The forms and processes are a physical platform which allow me to convey to the outer world what I think and feel is beautiful and important. As I am working art is the inner dialogue I have with myself, where I explore the things I think about. Whatever I make is a bridge between outer and inner. And when someone sees my work and is moved by it that is success.

Thank you Lisa! It was wonderful hearing from you. Readers, you can Download the free PDF here to make your own sewing box out of a book!